The Planning Commission approved to submit all six project applications to the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission.

PC Plans for Pedestrian and Transportation Improvement

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Thursday March 07, 2013

Each year, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) asks municipalities for transportation project ideas to complete for the next fiscal year under its Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). With Market Street, Interim Zoning, and the TIF application, what else could South Burlington be considering?

Director of Planning and Zoning Paul Conner is a member of CCRPC and has been working with fellow Planning and Zoning staff as well as the City Manager’s office, Recreation and Parks, and Public Works to develop projects to pitch to CCRPC. Staff proposed six ideas for commissioners to discuss and select for submittal:

Dorset Street Adaptive Signal Control Feasibility Study from Kennedy Drive to Williston Road

According to staff, this would work to control the daily high traffic on Dorset Street by using adaptive sign control versus conventional signal systems. The current conventional signal systems were installed in the 1980s, and since then, traffic behavior has changed. An increase in green light frequency with an adaptive sign control system would create smoother traffic flow and decrease congestion. The project would aim to also increase pedestrian use. Cost would be determined after the feasibility study.

Kimball Ave Pedestrian Crossing Feasibility Study

Safety is the underlying incentive behind the study. A site analysis of current pedestrian infrastructure and identifying potential areas for pedestrian cross-walking and biking ease are what the project would demand.

South Burlington Transportation Demand Management Program Study

This is intended to “reduce the proportion of single-occupancy vehicle trips, maximize the use of the existing parking in the area, and lessen the need for new surface and structured parking within the core area of the city,” according to staff. Extensive background information, establishing a Project Steering Committee and communication with stakeholders are just a few of the proper steps for the project.

Stop Sign Signal Warrant Analysis-intersection of Spear Street/ Deerfield Ave/ Nowland Farm Rd

This project would assess the need for a stop sign at the above listed location. Appropriate studies such as traffic counts and intersection geometry analysis coupled with developing alternate options are essential for the final decision.

Access Assessments for Recreational Areas-public parks and facilities

Staff recommends an assessment of parks in order to be fully compliant with ADA standards and maximize use and efficiency of parks and facilities.

Complete update of South Burlington Public Works Standards

Setting new standards to regulate work such as roadway construction or required turning radii at intersections are what will bring “right size” infrastructure back to South Burlington.

Commissioners were provided the completed project application forms prior to the meeting; they did not discuss them in extreme detail but did ask questions of clarification and procedure.

Could some of these projects such as No. 1, 3, and 6 wait until after Form Based Code? Commissioner Sophie Quest asked.

All six projects could potentially begin as soon as July, but--if approved--they will likely not start until later, at which time Form Based Code work will come close to its endpoint, Conner said.

Commissioner Tracey Harrington questioned the cost figures. The requested UPWP amount and the in-kind match figures did not add up to the total cost project. The UPWP amount and the total cost remained the same with an in-kind figure ranging between $500-$5,000 depending on the project. This would account for the city’s time spent.

“When it’s cash, it’s easy because it’s part of the additional project,” Conner said. “When it’s not cash, the project doesn’t get bigger just because we’re matching. It really depends on what they (CCRPC) want to do, how they want to account for it.”

Project costs in actual dollars are estimated between $2,500-$25,000 each.

Conner spoke briefly of the first project, as they were presented in the order of recommended attention:

Dorset Street was built in the late 1980’s, he said. There are some inconsistencies (i.e. some areas have pavement markings for pedestrian crossing and some do not), and with it being one of the busiest roads in the city, it needs proper fixing, especially with traffic control.

“There’s more technology out there that allows for traffic signals to vary by time of day without it being pre-programmed by day,” he said. “It can do its own analysis.”

For instance, traffic by the University Mall on Black Friday is very different from the traffic by the mall the day after New Year’s Eve, he added.

Afterward, Quest inquired about the stop sign project, a project of a smaller scale. $2,500 to budget for the stop sign’s UPWP’s cost with an $500 in-kind match seems a bit pricey, she said. Is this process necessary?

The cost is estimated on the higher end, and this process for a stop sign assessment is a legal procedure which later gives the proposed stop sign its teeth; in other words, law enforcement can properly monitor stop-sign behavior at that location.

“Every year we’re getting more and more robust in exactly why we’re picking these projects,” Conner said.

This year’s improvement was adding the Recreation and Parks department and City Manager’s office in brainstorming the projects. All participants looked at the project list “in comparison with the City’s capital plan for how we’re looking to spend money over the next 10 years,” he said.

Quest moved to apply for all six projects. Commissioner Barbara Benton seconded the motion, and the vote was unanimous. Commissioners Ted Riehle and Bill Stuono were not present, and former-Commissioner Chris Cole was not in attendance due ti his resent resignation.

To view the complete applications, visit the Planning Commission’s agenda attachments listed on the city’s web site.

SOURCE: Miranda Jonswold, Correspondent